Sunday, July 16, 2017

My hero

My preceding post included a photo of Ryan Seacrest, a graduate of Dunwoody High School in Atlanta who became a radio personality, television host, and producer who gained celebrity for his associations with American Idol, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, E! Live, and most recently as co-host of Live With Kelly and Ryan. He is, I guess, a pop culture icon. I say guess because pop culture is not my area of expertise.

I mentioned that my heart surgeon looks younger than Ryan Seacrest.

Kylie, a new reader of this blog who lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, left the following comment: "What i want to know about your surgeon is not if he looks younger than Ryan Seacrest but does he look as good?"

I certainly am not the one to ask. I have no idea. I know of no authoritative scale by which the attractiveness to females of one male over another can be measured. I suppose -- write this down -- that beauty or handsomeness is in the eye of the beholder.

So here, for Kylie and anybody else who might be wondering the same thing, is my hero, The Man Who Put The Stents In My Coronary Arteries:


You tell me!

For the record, Ryan Seacrest is 42 (in yesterday's photo from 2013 he was 39) and my doctor, according to his bio at the hospital, is 48.

Friday, July 14, 2017

It's all over but the shouting

I'm back at home from my adventures in angioplasty, which felt more like MY ADVENTURES IN A*N*G*I*O*P*L*A*S*T*Y!!! (with sincere apologies to Hyman Kaplan).

I spent two days in hospital with some very nice people that I hope I never need to see again, including an amazing cardiac surgeon who looked all of twenty years old but must have been about fifty. Just a kid*.

I came home Thursday afternoon with five stents in my coronary arteries that weren't there when I left on Wednesday morning.

It certainly isn't all about me, me, me but if you look closely you will find that the first three paragraphs of this post still managed to sneak in the personal pronoun eight times.

How thoroughly self-centered of them.

All things either having returned to more or less normal or having been significantly altered forever, depending on how you look at it, the period of recovery and rehabilitation now begins.

If you want to know more about angioplasty, click here.

Until next time, Seacrest out.

(Photo by Glenn Francis, 2013, used in accordance with the terms of GFDL)

*Ryan Seacrest, pictured above at age 39 in 2013, looks older than my cardiac surgeon. There's that darned personal pronoun again.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Remembrance of things recently past: Graduation 2017

We traveled to Alabama to attend the high-school graduation of our oldest grandson there (not our oldest grandson of all, but our oldest grandson there).

Here are a few scenes of that day for posterity my vast reading audience's personal perusal and pleasure (alliteration lessons available for a small fee):








Saturday, July 8, 2017

Turn around and the year is already half over, or time flies even when you're not having fun

The May-June-July Follies have been rather eventful this year even though your correspondent has been blogging less. In this post I will confine myself to the local follies scene as international follies are in a class by themselves and cannot be explained adequately by anyone.

Number Four Grandchild graduated from high school with honors, fifth in his class of nearly two hundred. Come fall we will have four grandchildren attending four different colleges in three different states, with two more grandchildren close behind.

All our chickies were gone at one point. Number One Son's bunch went to Michigan, where, among other activities, they saw three of the five Great Lakes and crossed from the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula on a very big bridge. Number Two Son's bunch went to Guatemala where, among other activities, they climbed to the top of a volcano and narrowly avoided being affected by an earthquake. Only Daughter's bunch went to Baltimore, Maryland, where, among other activities, they rode in a water taxi from the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry, the site of the battle with the British in 1814 that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The old folks, a.k.a. Mom and Dad, a.k.a. Nana and Grandpa, stayed home. They did not go to market, have roast beef, cry "Wee, wee, wee" all the way home, pass GO, or collect $200. Nevertheless, their time was not uneventful.

Dad/Grandpa had adventures of his own. A semi-annual cardiologist appointment revealed that it was time for another stress test, it having been four or five years since the last one occurred. Your correspondent allowed as how he didn't care if he never saw another treadmill. The cardiologist pointed out that there are nuclear stress tests now that involve having a radioactive isotope injected into one's veins to speed up one's heart rate in lieu of the aforementioned treadmill and then one's being surrounded by an MRI-like machine for a few minutes, during which time a geiger counter-like apparatus checks out one's heart. One protested feebly but ultimately agreed to such a procedure.

One got home from this procedure to discover that a medication, isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur, a vaso dilator), had been called in to one's pharmacy. One was a bit alarmed, as one's newest buddy in the medical field, an ophthalmologist in the next county, has been injecting bevacizumab (Avastin) in one's right eye monthly since March, the purpose of which is to shrink, not expand, the blood vessels in one's eye as a treatment for what is called "wet" macular degeneration. It seemed to one (moi) that the Imdur and the Avastin might work at odds to one another.

Subsequently a heart catheterization (British, catheterisation) was recommended and your brave correspondent reluctantly agreed to be subjected to this barbaric procedure also. They didn't like what they found. One was informed that the large artery that enters the heart at the bottom is 80 to 90 per cent blocked, plus there are several smaller blockages that require insertion of "three or four" (forsooth) stents, and heavy blood thinners will be necessary for at least a year.

The heart guy stopped the presses at this point until he could confer with the eye guy. Said conference has now been completed and the verdict is that everything is just hunky-dory for the stent insertions to proceed. I am now waiting to hear from the heart guy's office as to when to report for duty the resumption of the interrupted procedure.

Wish me well. It seems Number One Son's bunch are not the only ones in the family crossing a big bridge.


(Photo by Justin Billau, used in accordance with CC-BY-2.0)

Crossing a big bridge and narrowly avoiding being affected by an earthquake have a lot in common. In light of this astounding revelation, please rise for the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Can I tie everything up in a neat bow, or what?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Say whaaat???, or Much ado about almost nothing

Something is rotten in the state of communication.

Three times in one day -- twice in print and once on the radio -- I encountered ignorance in our midst.

As one who spent many years editing other people's work, I was definitely irked.

Let me explain.

In our county's weekly newspaper, The Cherokee Ledger (there's a daily paper as well, The Cherokee Tribune, but it costs money and the Ledger is free), I read two separate sentences in a lengthy story about a woman who is seeking political asylum in the U.S. that stopped me cold:

1. "In Venezuela, [the woman] voted against Hugo Chavez and her name is listed on a blacklist as a trader," the [family] said." (emphasis mine)

2. [Her husband] said, "The other reason it's dangerous is she is a Venezuelan (ex-patriot) who's lived in the U.S. for fifteen years. If she's deported, she most likely won't make it out of the airport." She most likely will be picked up by the military police, kidnapped, tortured or killed, [her husband] said. "We simply cannot send [her] back to Venezuela , because she will die," he said. (emphasis mine)

In spite of the newspaper reporter quoting -- QUOTING -- the family and the husband as saying those things, I'm as sure as the day is long that the words "trader" and "ex-patriot" never left their lips. The words the reporter or the editor back at the office missed, mes amies, are obviously traitor and Venezuelan expatriate, and the parentheses were definitely the result of wrong-headed thinking. That last clause is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Lovers of the English language around here live in a constant state of consternation. My teeth ache from being clenched so much.

This post has been in draft status for so long that I have forgotten the third example that I heard on the radio. If I remember it, you'll be the first to know.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I heard it through the grapevine

At the little Methodist Church we attend, the last Sunday of every month (except December) is Fellowship Lunch Sunday when everyone is invited to stay after the service and eat a meal together in the Fellowship Hall, a meal consisting of whatever edible goodies the congregation have brought with them. In your part of the world such an event might be called a Pot Luck or a Covered-Dish Dinner, but we call it a Fellowship Lunch.

You're invited even if you haven't brought anything. There's always plenty to go around. Methodists are funny that way. Some people bring the same thing every month, especially if their contribution has received compliments in the past, and some people bring something different each time. Patsy always brings a casserole, Nina can be counted on for meat loaf, Randy always brings his strawberry shortcake, and so forth. In recent months Mrs. RWP has joined the desserts crowd and brought a cherry dump cake several times, a scrumptious delight that contains cherry pie filling, yellow cake mix, crushed pineapple, butter, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans. One struggles to maintain one's girlish figure at events like these.

This month my talented wife decided to make something different involving apple pie filling and angel food cake mix. These were the only ingredients in the new recipe that she found. Not one to settle for merely what a recipe says, she decided to add some California raisins:


No, not those! She reached into the pantry and pulled out these:


But in the end she decided not to add raisins after all and used pecans instead.

Can you figure out why?

No? Look a little closer:


As Shakespeare once said, though, all's well that ends well.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Mamma mia! My mother was an Aryan!

It's true! But it's not what you may be thinking. She was Jewish. How can this be?

I will tell you.

Poking around on the internet can prove very interesting. I found the college yearbook for the year my mother graduated from West Chester (Pa.) State Teachers College. Her photo appeared on page 114 of the 1930 edition of The Serpentine, West Chester's yearbook.

And right there, next to her photo, was this description:

RUTH ELIZABETH SILBERMAN
"Rufus"
234 Wyncote Road, Jenkintown, Pa.
PRIMARY - ARYAN
Swimming; Bowling; Y.W.C.A.; Montgomery County Club; Student Teachers' Club of Chester; Archery.

I know for a fact that the list of her activities is incomplete, because among her souvenirs I found a pin from the Mask and Wig Players, the college's drama club.

Seeing Y.W.C.A. (Young Women's Christian Association) is a little surprising considering that she was Jewish, but it probably had something to do with another of her activities, swimming,

I never heard anyone call my mother "Rufus" but apparently her college friends did. I do remember both her brother and her sister calling her "Ruthie Puthie" or "Roothie Poothie" or however it is spelled. No matter. She was "Mama" to me.

PRIMARY indicates that her major at the State Teachers College was primary education. She wanted to teach young children. Clear enough.

That leaves ARYAN, which almost made me drop my teeth.

Really? ARYAN?? As in white supremacists and Nazis and the like?

Absolutely not.

A little more poking around revealed that there were several literary societies at West Chester, and the one my mother belonged to happened to be called ARYAN. There was another called HERODOTUS, and there were others. These clubs had existed at the college for many years, long before the unfortunate turn of events in the world that gave the word an entirely different meaning. Actually, it originally meant "noble" in the ancient Vedic literature of India. If you want to learn more about Aryans, click here. If not, we stand adjourned until the next regular session.

page 114 of 1930 Serpentine